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tv   Q A  CSPAN  August 18, 2014 6:00am-7:01am EDT

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>> this week on "q&a," our guest is pat buchanan, the author of "the greatest comeback: how richard nixon rose from defeat to create the new majority." mr. buchanan worked for richard nixon and his book explores nixon's career following his losses in the 1960's presidential election and the 1962 california governor's race, and how he recovered to win the presidency in 1968. >> pat buchanan, your new book about the 1968 campaign of richard nixon -- is that a beginning of a trilogy for you? >> i had intended by it.
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i got down into my files and brought back all the stories and memories, and thought the nixon comeback in his earliest years was a book in and of itself, a book in which i was very close to richard nixon, his staff is very small, and it was an extraordinary story, an extraordinary time. a time of assassinations and riots and campus anarchy and revolution, the tet offensive, americans coming home in caskets, the convention at chicago -- it is an extraordinary story. i decided to put it all into one book. >> i will go through the chronological part of this book and talk about some of the things i have never seen before and begin with asking you about the first moment you met richard nixon. >> the first moment was at the burning tree country club in 1954. pete cook and i were looking for a summer job.
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we were the only two white guys out there. after the black caddies had gone after their afternoon bags, the vice president's was put out on the bench. the assistant looked over at me and pete cook and called us over and we went around 18 holes at burning tree country club with richard nixon, who was not a scratch golfer. >> what do you remember about him and that meeting? >> he was in his early 40's, not athletic but enjoying himself immensely. it wasn't all men's club. i do remember him yelling across a couple of fairways, "hey, steve, why aren't you up on the hill? there is a vote!" he would tell him to shove it. i remember that and i remember nixon was an irreverent figure but enjoying himself. >> why were you caddying, and is
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burning tree still there? >> i grew up in washington, d.c. i was not a professional caddy. black kids pulled me aside and said, here's how you do it, you grab the handle here and do this, put it over your shoulder like you know what you are doing. they told us that and instructed me there, but we wanted a job during the summer and we wanted to make some money. i am a d.c. boy -- i grew up in the city, and that was the reason i was out there. >> how long did you do that? >> four weeks or something like that before i got bored. we sat there and -- we rarely got bags but i do remember one time -- 100 degree heat, i carried nine holes and two bags. we went out for the second, too.
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not great golfers. but it was great fun and great memories. when i got back up to the people's drugstore i tell them i was out with the vice president. they were impressed. >> when did you first see him again? >> illinois. i was an editorial writer. after three years, i was getting tired of sitting in an office writing editorials. i was doing very well, and nixon was speaking -- filling in for someone. after it was over, don hess having a cocktail party. a little fundraiser. nixon was going to attend.
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so i got an invitation from don hess and asked him to introduce me. nixon was in the kitchen, talking, and hess brings me up to him. i said, hello, mr. vice president. if you run in 1968, i would like to vote early. he asks what do i do. i said i am an assistant editorial editor. he said no, what do you do. i said, i write. he asks, what do you write on? then i mentioned the burning tree, described the bag, and he was apparently pretty impressed. he said that nixon had talked about me all the way to the airport. after about 10 days, i heard nothing -- then i picked up the phone and there was the familiar voice, can you come up to new york and continue our conversation? which is what i did for three hours in his office.
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after a three-hour conversation with him which rolled over all over domestic foreign policy issues, personality, he said, i would like to hire you for one year. basically, $12,000 for the first six months, $15,000 for the second six, 50% more than i was making. i said i am on, should i call my publisher? he doesn't know i'm here. >> you had to wait a long time to talk to him? >> three hours. i arrived there at about 12:00 and he was reading this mail, which i was going to have to deal with. one of the reasons he wanted to hire me was a growing volume of mail and he couldn't answer it all. he wanted me to do three things. get rid of the mail backlog,
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work on the syndicated column with him, and travel with him or do his work with him in the '66 campaign. he would tell me that was very important -- we got wiped out in 1964. we were down to 140 house seats. today's republicans have 240. nixon would always tell me the nomination won't be worth anything if we don't get the republican party base up to where it should be to have a presidential run. he believed the base was crucial, the size of it, and we were outnumbered more than two to one. both houses of congress and state legislatures. >> so you take this job. what are you thinking at the
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time about him? you were only 27. what goes through your mind at that young age? >> i am going to make this guy president of the united states. >> what did you think of that time? >> i think he had to be thinking -- i'm thinking of 1968, i assess the field, this is between two people, governor romney of michigan and richard nixon. nixon's great and wise move was in 1964, after he introduced goldwater. nixon, with my future wife traveling with him, traveled all over the country and campaigned harder for goldwater than goldwater did. when he went down to defeat, goldwater endorsed nixon and said, if you run again i am with
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you. the republican party base loved him but believed he was a loser, and the conservative movement and the conservative martyr barry goldwater with him. these were extraordinary assets. if it could be wedded to the nixon center of the party, there is no way the rockefeller wing could get the nomination. i assessed that myself after 1965. if you get the nomination, you are on the 40 yard line, 40% of the vote, you have a fighting chance. since i grew up in washington, i wanted to get into politics. we didn't even have the vote in d.c. until 1964. there was no way you could get elected to the senate. my idea was ted sorenson -- he was getting tremendous publicity. he was right beside kennedy. i said, that is the job to which i could aspire. >> so you like the idea of the lights and the writing?
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>> i liked the idea of the writing and being the adviser. it was not being a candidate, because i couldn't be a candidate, but that was the job to which i could aspire in the white house. >> you said this a couple time in your books. the press is the enemy. >> i didn't really take that belief with president nixon, but he would always say that. the press is the enemy. i didn't believe that, i was in journalism school, many were friends of mine. there were nixon haters in the press, but i thought it was over done on nixon's part. he had a tremendous number of friends in the press, columnists coming in like him and respected him. >> name some. >> roscoe drummond, william white, jack patrick. even david lawrence ran a
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column. these were well-known people that really liked richard nixon. there were others out to get him including robert novak who i went to a memorial service for. i think novak was the best political reporter angie made no -- reporter and he made no apologies about the fact that he did not like nixon. >> did he ever like nixon? >> i don't think he ever really liked nixon, no. i don't think he ever got to know him when nixon left office. novak did come around. he came around to admire ronald reagan. >> i'm going to go to a story about the press -- not so much about the press as it is about you. richard amberg. >> richard h. amberg was a democrat when i got out there.
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amberg had come from this syracuse paper. he was one of those fellows that knew how to move around, very powerful turf figures, very effective publishers. he had gotten almost the jewel in the crown. we have 320,000 in circulation. it went under in 1985. >> the story wanted you to tell starts out on page 101. "the rest of us were not observing any moratorium" -- you go on to tell the story about a column that was written that he signed under the name nixon, g.o.p. big winner. explain that whole process. >> after the election is over, '66 election, which was a
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tremendous success, we gained 47 house seats. i wrote this piece, probably close to 2000 words long. it described nixon's tremendous job when he campaigned and predicted this and that. it had quotes in it and it was a well-done piece. >> you wrote it. >> i wrote it. sent it to my ex-boss. he puts it on the weekend edition. "nixon, big winner in '66." his byline. it goes to this article, we got the copies with his byline printed full-page, sent out to every republican congressman and senator, county chairman, all over the country.
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all these columnists were picking up quotes. the play was just tremendous, we got into the bloodstream of the country until many of the columnists were saying richard nixon had a tremendous success. i didn't tell you -- they have another thing which was called -- another column i wrote. >> you wrote this piece, mr. amberg put his name on it, you got to reprint it and then you had it sent out in the mail by fred seaton. >> interior secretary under ike. he endorsed nixon early. we wrote the letter from fred seaton to all the congressmen, senators, republican state chairmen. >> you wrote the letter.
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>> we drafted it for his signature and we had them all printed out in new york along with the amberg-buchanan piece. we put them in suitcases and i flew out one day, all day long, to omaha with frontier airlines to hastings, nebraska. i got off and took my suitcases in to see fred seaton. he was a nice guy, sipping his whiskey, and he and i were talking. he was signing these. we left them there to be mailed out, to have that middle american postmark. [laughter] >> isn't this why americans hate politics? >> there was nothing seaton disagreed with.
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marty nolan once came after me and said buchanan corrupted the letters to the editors. because i'm writing letters to the editor. my name is not any articles that i wrote, columns, speeches i had written -- i am a ghost, that is what we do. i didn't find any questionable morality in ghosting letters to the editor if you ghost articles for the vice president. >> did you continue to do that kind of stuff all through the presidency? >> that is how the agnew speech came about. it was after nixon. >> a background on the agnew speech? >> november 13, 1969 -- a vice-president stood up for the first time and blistered the
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national networks -- that is when the networks were the first primary source of information for two-thirds of the american people. nixon gave his great silent majority speech and it was a tremendous success. but the networks trashed it. but it was a success with the american people. nixon vaulted to 68%. he said, get your letters to the editor organization, which we put up together at the rnc. writes letters to the editor and get people to sign. i said, this is preposterous. we have got this seizure in the white house which is our big asset. i sent a memo, which i still have, saying agnew should give a speech going after the networks. i will write it. let's stop the mickey mouse with
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the letters to the editor. agnew loved the idea. there was a note at the top that said "p has seen" -- president has seen -- "go ahead." that speech, i dropped it for agnew, he loved it. the president wanted to edit it. so because we did the oval office. i have to be candid here, the language was a little off, i am reading through the speech, second draft, he's got his glasses on. he rarely had glasses on. reads it. you can hear him, "this will tear the scab off these bastards." [laughter] i broke out laughing. he loved the idea. that was november 13. all three network heads were on "time" and "newsweek's" cover
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the following sunday. the whole issue of network power, bias, irresponsibility, all of that -- >> i remember that the networks carried that speech. >> agnew was going to deliver the speech, and i got a call. abc is carrying agnew's speech live. i said, holy smoke. i go out to the university club, got a call up there while i was in the pool. all three networks are going live. i was thinking, this is the end of my career. that night, agnew delivered the speech and i thought it was
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terrific. the next morning i had to go back to the air force base at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. he was going down for the launch of apollo 12. he sees me, comes through the plane with a big grin on his face and says, dang, buster. an addendum to that -- somebody else got on the plane. father salinger. he expelled me from georgetown several years before for problems with some police officers. he comes on and he sees me. i told him, i was just nothing. i hadn't seen him in 10 years. there is a big statue of salinger now in baltimore. that's what he was doing on agnew's plan.
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>> this is a non sequitur -- >> it will be in my next book, lord willing. >> this is a non sequitur. you tell a story in this book about the first time you saw secret service. >> this is after bobby kennedy was shot. suddenly, all the candidates got secret service protection. nixon was at the point. ray price and i were staying down at and inn. >> 1968? >> 1968, just before the convention. i think rosemary woods was out there, too. the rest of the gang went down to miami beach.
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nixon is in there and i see this guy standing there, looking around. he is looking off to the woods. i was behind him and i picked up a rock and i threw it over his head into the woods. he went into a crouch. i probably shouldn't have done it. >> he drew his gun? >> he put his hand on his gun, it was a stupid thing to do. >> why did you do that? >> the impulse of something. >> the kind of thing that got you in trouble in georgetown, messing with the cops? [laughter] >> right from the beginning, i have got the whole story. >> here is another story -- richard nixon meeting with a group of harvard students. >> that was very early, february, 1966. nixon invites me to his apartment, meeting with some harvard students. we went up to his apartment and i sat down, one of them was don reakle. switched parties. they ripon society and nixon was having trouble because he had made a statement about this fellow who had said at the
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university down at rutgers that he should be fired because of trouble with academic freedom. one of the harvard people was thinking of hiring the kid. we are in nixon's office and he is talking to this kid. sounding him out. and the kid says, before i would consider that, i have to know what your views are on academic freedom. [laughter] is this kid nuts?
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the insolence of it, to interrogate you to make sure that you are a subject i can work for. >> what happened when the kids were walking out? >> he went back in the office and said, i never want to see that kid again. [laughter] >> another story -- the mike wallace relationship. >> we like wallace. he was combative, argumentative. we looked on him as a friend, even after nixon went into the white house. we would get together with him. wallace -- he was offered the job and i was given a copy of the letter where he turns down the offer of being press secretary to richard nixon in the spring of 1968. he was a good friend.
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they offered him that job and they turned it down, saying he was going to stay where he was. but he was a good friend. >> one story is when he found ted agnew was going to be the vice president nominee. >> he came downstairs -- i had not known earlier that -- when he came downstairs, we knew it. the press had heard and he was cussing up a storm. he said you've lost this, kicked it away. the reason was mike wallace was a dedicated liberal, but he was a friend of ours. i think what happened was -- they all felt, because agnew had made his reputation by publicly reading of the right act to the civil rights leaders after baltimore burned, carmichael had been up there -- >> he had been the governor of
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maryland. >> the first open housing law south of the mason dixon line. when the civil rights leaders refused to condemn carmichael -- trying to urge on the burning. he read the riot act. he brought in the tv cameras to do it. he was persona non grata to the liberal press after that and the idea that nixon would pick him was deeply offensive to mike wallace. he had felt we lost the election. but nixon -- i liked agnew. i sent nixon the clippings of what agnew said. i was impressed. he said, i want you to condemn -- you didn't condemn him, you ran away. i went -- i was the only one
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there. nixon introduced me and we all went upstairs. nixon was watching and agony was -- and agnew was very tough and, buchanan, i think we have got ourselves a hanging judge. [laughter] >> but then? >> we went out to michigan bay and agnew did not perform well. they had a murder board for students. where we were all questioning agnew on stuff, he didn't do well, he made a lot of gaffes in the campaign. i volunteered to lead nixon's campaign. around october, he decided to leave the campaign. you could sense we were losing. humphrey was gaining. we got on the agnew plane for seven days or eight days something. i think i did some good out
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there, wrote speeches on social security, went down to the border states. agnew and i became great friends after that. i was at his funeral. his burial site, anyhow. >> you tell stories about mike wallace and the time the cameras were rolling after the election. >> 1966. this was during the -- [laughter] mike was a friend. we brought him in to let him film our senior staff and nixon during the roll call at the convention. >> in the hotel? >> in the hotel. nixon's suite. it was a tremendous benefit. we were in there and we start the roll call. there was this picture of me right beside nixon, david douglas duncan took it.
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they started the roll call and it was going according to form, till we got to michigan. as i recall, governor romney, 40 votes, four votes for richard milhouse nixon. and i yelled, we got the birchers. they were defecting from romney and we didn't think they liked us at all but we got them. the cameras are rolling from cbs and nixon looks over at me -- they had a conference right there and it was decided that cbs would not show buchanan's outburst. that is somewhere in cbs's files. >> isn't that like managing the news? you may get upset about the news is over the other side. >> i didn't talk about it, i wasn't doing the talking, but nixon was.
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>> it has been explained, the context of the birchers. >> the john birch society. tremendously controversial. the burning issue of the convention was goldwater. the birch society was a right wing group -- wasn't secret, but private -- founded by robert welsh who called eisenhower the politician, a conscious agent of the communist conspiracy, which was ridiculous. as someone said, he is not communist, he's a golfer. but because of that statement and similar statements, the birch society ran out of the conservative movement around 1962. they were tremendously
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controversial, supported nixon's opponent, gutted nixon. nixon was a member of the council on foreign relations. they hurt nixon and were probably partly responsible for his defeat out there. they were tremendously controversial. nixon had said when i went with him in 1966, i said i will campaign for any republican except a member of the john birch society. >> were you worried about losing that -- [laughter] >> it was a very embarrassing moment, no doubt about it. i was cheering the fact, hey, we got the birchers! great fun, you guys. >> i have some video. you seen this, i'm sure, many times. this is from 1962, the famous richard nixon news conference, after he had become the governor -- after he had lost the california governor. >> 16 years. you've had a lot of fun.
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a lot of fun. you've had an opportunity to attack me, and i think i have given as good as i've taken. i leave you gentlemen now. you will write it, you will interpret it, that is your right. i want you to know -- think how much he will be missed. you won't have nixon to kick around anymore. gentlemen, this is my last press conference. i hope that what i have said today will at least make television, radio, the press recognize that they have a right and responsibility if they are against a candidate to give him the shaft, but if they give him the shaft, put one lonely
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reporter on the campaign who will report what the candidate says now and then. thank you, gentlemen, and good day. [applause] >> did you ever talk to him about that moment? >> i talked about it when he was going to announce in 1968. i said, when you get up with your press conference in new hampshire, why don't you start off by saying, it looks like you were going to have nixon to kick around some more? but he got up and said, this is not my last press conference. or something like that. that was considered devastating. self-pity -- that is the end of politics, it is suicidal. there was a documentary on the political obituary of richard nixon. it starred the soviety spy that nixon had put in prison. but i think they thought, nixon has got a point. they really did give him the shaft. i think over the extent of his career, richard nixon was
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probably the most brutalized politician with the exception of joe mccarthy. i can't think of anyone who got a sustained beating like that into had greater systematic hostility. i didn't agree with nixon that the press of the enemy when i -- the press was the enemy when i came with him. we got good coverage at times in the primary. but through watergate, i came to believe it was true. the problem is, when the press ceases to be individuals, going out with them, it becomes a great herd -- there is a collective mindset that builds up.
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i won't name the guy, but i remember the day nixon resigned. we went up and had a couple of martinis. i saw a famous american correspondent laughing his head off, giggling when i showed up. he said, pat, this is terrible. [laughter] >> is the man still alive? >> he's still alive. i don't want to name him. he's not writing anymore. i haven't seen his byline in a long time. >> there's a story when you found out rockefeller was not going to run, and what mr. nixon said after. >> we had gotten word -- this is 1967, we thought romney was fading into we could beat him hands down. we were in tremendously good shape going into february 1. bobby kennedy gets in, and rockefeller holds a press
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conference and nixon tells me, you watch this, i'm going to the hotel. he did that often. he wanted me to watch something or hear something and get my impression rather than look at it himself. i think it was deliberate. he wanted to see how others reacted. dwight and i were watching, rockefeller gets up and romney is there, and says i'm not going to run. i don't want to run. i'm out. i couldn't believe it. i go into the bedroom and i tell him -- and his first three words are, "it's the girl." what he meant was drew pearson had written a newsletter saying that rockefeller, who had that marriage problem in 1964 that may have cost him the california primary, had a new girlfriend on
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his staff, and pearson had named her. this was in december. i was wondering, can a guy run after a scandal like this? after happy murphy? can the guy run? >> we have got 40 seconds of nelson rockefeller announcing his candidacy. happy murphy, who is now still alive, just to bring back old memories. >> i shall do everything i can, with all my energy, now and in the weeks before the national convention, to bring before the people the dimensions of the problems as i see them and how i believe, as a free people, we can meet them.
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i believe firmly that through ii believe firmly that through and i -- true unity is forged by full examination of the fact, and the free interchange of honest convictions, and very simply, by taking this course at this time, i feel i can best serve my country. [applause] >> let me tell you about that. he didn't get into the race in march. i don't know if it was because of the gal. or what was written by drew pearson. the rumor was all over d.c. what he had done by not getting into the race in march, he enabled himself not to be in the primary in nebraska, indiana, oregon. nixon would have crushed him in indiana. it was his mother state. we would have crushed him in
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nebraska, before he got to oregon, which was rocky's strongest state. he delayed the announcement until the filing deadline passed. he pulled himself off the ballot in oregon. they were all calling nixon a loser but none of them wanted to come into the primaries and beat him, because he would have beaten every one of them. with due respect, including governor reagan. at one point he could've beaten reagan for president. we didn't go into new york because nixon felt like i can win this nomination by winning all the contested primaries, open primaries, without going after favorite sons. he wanted to win the nomination so that none of these favorite sons would be humiliated.
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>> another story in the book is how we got warren burger as our chief justice. indeed.i worked with nixon on an -- >> indeed. i worked with nixon on an article. nixon would have me work on the law and order stuff and price would work on -- outsanding speechwriter -- would work on vietnam. in 1967, "u.s. news," about a year after our piece went out, warren burger, as appellate court judge, wrote an article which was very similar to what we had said. the arguments were very similar. i took this and said, this is excellent. i sent it in to nixon. two years later, in 1969, when warren burger was appointed chief justice, i gave the press
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some of his thoughts. the only thing they had when this announcement broke was this. i sent that in to nixon and clearly he was impressed, but i also understand later that burger was at the 1948 convention. nixon might have seen him there because nixon was a dewey man. and an eisenhower man. he was no bob taft conservative. >> was burger a taft man? [laughter] >> one of the great achievements in my life is the staff of the
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-- i beat stassen in the 1992 primary. >> the story i want you to tell is the important story -- there may not have been a warren burger. >> there may not have been a warren burger. nixon had won in oregon. democratic party battling between mccarthy and kennedy. what happens is we get wind in late june of 1968, that earl warren is about to resign and indeed he did resign as chief justice, contingent upon the confirmation of his successor. lyndon johnson immediately named his crony to be chief justice. you will see on the back of that book is a picture of me and nixon at the airport discussing
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this before nixon held a press conference at laguardia. where he said, before we got word, they should hold off naming someone -- he said, he indicated he should name someone else. but it wasn't a fait accompli. bob griffin, the senator from michigan, took up the cudgels and opposed fortis, and suddenly howard baker got out and said -- fifteen senators with nothing against fortis but we are not going to let the chief justice be appointed by the next president. that next president should appoint him. i was working with a lot of cash and with a lot of offices, but bill rogers, the secretary of
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state, would advise nixon through me, tell me not to get involved. we wanted nixon to indicate to the senate republicans, to block fortis so we can have the choice to name the new chief justice. there was a real battle going on inside. >> a quote from your book -- "i had no role in the enterprise, but did tell the press that the fortis film festival was going to nail the coffin shut on our aspiring chief justice." what is the fortis film festival? >> fortis had been one lone dissenter to say this transgender pornographic film was legitimate entertainment, an 8-1 decision. he defended the right to have this transgender hard-core pornography, in those days, to
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have it shown. senators got a room in the senate building and invited all the senators up to watch this. some of the senators went in and saw this film and said, this is what fortis thinks is acceptable. he told me that some of the senators came out with legs wobbling. [laughter] it was very funny. i said, listen, this guy is not going to survive the fortis film festival. sure enough, fortis couldn't break the filibuster and he went down the tubes. >> here's richard nixon accepting the party's nomination. it is just a brief clip to give you the feeling of the moment. he talks about power back to the people. >> after a period of 40 years when power has gone from the cities and states to the government in washington, d.c.
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-- it is time to have power go back from washington to the states and the cities of this country all over america. [applause] we are going to win because at a time when america cries out for the unity that this administration has destroyed, the republican party, after a spirited contest, stands united before the nation tonight. >> sounds familiar today. >> it sure does. the republican party was only about half the size, or two thirds the size, the democratic party. nixon had put them all together. he had the nixon center. we had a united party. this is one of the things of the election of '68 you couldn't
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anticipate. wallace had 21% of the vote at one point. he was winning in seven states. you had a bobby kennedy and jim mccarthy, the leaders of the antiwar movement. the campuses were very anti-vietnam. they were far left. then you have the democratic party, johnson, dick dailey. this great coalition of fdr's, it was being torn to pieces. and that is what led nixon, in our first term, to capture the northern catholics, blue-collar workers. future democrats and bring them in. when george wallace ran as a
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democrat, was out of the race in november, and civil rights as an issue was over. the rights revolution was done. the whole southern protestant moved into the nixon coalition and the northern catholics and the goldwaterites and nixonites. that is how we did it. the key thing here -- we were talking earlier -- that was revolution in 1968. social, cultural, moral, civil rights, everything was up for grabs. the whole revolution was i contained inside the democratic party. the demonstrators at columbia, the rich kids, the liberal democrats, occupying professors offices, cops beating up demonstrators.
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you take -- the wallace folks and the urban rioters were both democrats. >> you were friends with him for the rest of his life. >> his friend, dr. adams -- i would head down, 60 miles south of montgomery, i would get off the plane and a state trooper was there. "the governor would like to see you, mr. buchanan." i got to know him very well. he had been up on the mountaintop. we talked about the campaigns and things he did. he didn't like the press, either. >> you were a friend of barry goldwater's until the end. >> i had written for goldwater back in 1966.
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back in november once, in the jockey club -- >> jockey club? >> it's gone now. goldwater comes walking over, sits down, starts talking to me for about 15 minutes. i really admired him, i really admired barry goldwater. he was your first political hero. i knew he moved a bit later on from his earlier positions. >> you mentioned the drinking, richard nixon and drinking. >> i did and i think nixon had this reputation that he was a tremendously heavy drinker. there is no doubt he had some
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drinks, but my recollection is he was a spartan. he had a couple sips of beer and go to sleep. but i don't think nixon -- we got on a jet coming out of new hampshire or south dakota, he thought it was south dakota. this little tiny jet that flew 41,000 feet. nixon said, "get vodka and fresca." we handed back to him -- up there at 41,000 feet, he has a couple sips. all of a sudden, "i love those little brown people."
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he was talking about asians. he really liked asians. he would describe them. i said, we've only given one drink! there is a tremendous weariness, one sip and the weariness just came through. one picture of nixon in there, dwight's home picture. you can see the weariness all over him. >> what is your plan from now on in what you want to write? >> i am working on an idea for a follow-up book to do the nixon years through watergate and all the rest of it. not the history of nixon, just my vantage point.
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will i was involved an awful lot. the great silent majority speech. i was at camp david. when we found the last tape. all of those occasions -- i was asked to be head of the plumbers and i turned it down. all these episodes and where i was and where nixon was, what nixon did and what he said. i have been blessed with a very good memory and i have got all my files here. a thousand pieces of paper with nixon's handwriting. >> you worked in a lot of different places. cnn, msnbc, ran for president. worked for three different presidents.
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in 2012, they didn't renew your contract at msnbc. what was that story? how you feel about it, looking back? >> my book came out, "suicide of the superpower." it was clearly a shocker to msnbc. the head of msnbc said, these ideas don't belong on our network. it became a "new york times" bestseller. c-span argued about it. i was on fox and other places. nobody seems to have the same take on the book that msnbc did. i never went back on there. i was told, you won't be on this morning, and that was it. we worked out an arrangement. it was very fair to me in terms of contracts. i enjoyed working with msnbc.
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i think they thought i was a strange beast. >> al sharpton has his own show -- we were initially introduced to him with someone who turned out to be a complete fraud. when i got back up to the people's drugstore i tell them i was out with the vice president. they were impressed. >> when did you first see him again?
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>> i did not like it when gerald ford told me i should go back into the private sector. i did not like him, and he nixon whitethe house right after the dinner party. leaveuth was, i wanted to anyway. next it he tell you that himself? yes, he did. he said, i think you should go back into the private sector. he did. but i expected it. let me tell you the story about after nixon left. i went to him and said i want out, i'm gone. al offered me a selection of embassies. and it isouth africa approved by fruited i think, but
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the day after the party there was a call from that said the white house was thunderstruck what going to be of south ambassador africa. but all the nixon people who were going to be appointed .mbassadors were gone we only have one minute left. this is way off the subject. you read to operate with a totally clean desk. it, nothing. where did you get that idea? why have you done it in your career. paperstimes i didn't when i am working on a column. i do not know where it is, but even when i had an office at the globe democrat, but they had magazines all over the place, i would spend hours at night
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putting them with the belong. i'm sure i got it from my father and mother -- clean up your room, pat -- that sort of thing. coat and ties which are two or three blocks from here. i had a coat and tie, 13 years old so until i was 21, totally got to nixon's law firm. and they wanted us to wear a coat entitled down to the men's room there. >> because? >> they didn't want us walking around without a coat. it was a very stodgy firm that he belonged to. >> the name of the book is "the greatest comeback: how richard nixon rose from defeat to create the new majority," by patrick j. buchanan. we thank you very much. >> thank you.
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>> for free transcripts or to give us your comments about this program, visit us at q-and-a.org. q&a programs are also available as c-span podcasts. washington journal is next. live with your phone calls. and at >> coming up next on "washington journal," the latest on the situation in iraq regarding airstrikes and the kurdish population in the northern region. , director of the
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washington dc office for the kurdistan regional government. a discussion on lyndon johnson's goals for improving education in the 1960's. part of "washington journal's" weeklong look at lbj's great society. ♪ good morning. monday, august 18, 2014. president obama returns to the white house late last night, taking a break from his martha's vineyard vacation for meetings today. increasingly tense situation in ferguson, missouri. the president plans to meet with eric holder for an update on investigation into the shooting death of an automatic black teenager by a ferguson officer. governor jay nixon announced early this morning that he was deploying the missouri national guard to the area

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